Jules van Schaijik

Joined: Aug. 5, 2011


Happily married to Katie for over 22 years; father of 5 wonderful children; and father in law to one more. (And much more handsome than the picture makes it seem.) I was born and raised in the Netherlands. Went to college in Steubenville, OH, and have been moving between Europe and America ever since. For studies, work, etc. Right now, we are happily ensconced in West Chester, PA, where the town is lively, the surroundings beautiful, the friends friendly, and the cycling club very active. I’m looking forward to many fun and fruitful conversations about things that matter.

Most recent posts by Jules van Schaijik:     (See all of them)

The unity of objectivity and subjectivity in emotion

Sep. 20 at 5:50am | Comments: 13 | Most recent comment: Sep. 22 at 8:45pm

Central to Dietrich von Hildebrand's philosophy of the heart is the idea of "intentionality" or object-directedness. Emotions, he holds, are not just subjective psychological experiences, but meaningful responses—to persons, events or situations. That is why they can be appropriate or inappropriate, reasonable or unreasonable. Like thoughts, emotions have an objective measure, a standard to which they can and should conform. Introduced to this idea of “intentionality” by von Hildebrand more than 25 years ago, I've always associated...

Austen on the need to investigate our feelings

Jul. 31 at 12:45pm | Comments: 3 | Most recent comment: Aug. 1 at 8:38am

I finished Deresiewicz’ delightful book A Jane Austen Education, which I first mentioned a few days ago. Before putting it back on the shelf, I want to mention another of its insights—one that tracks closely with what I have learned from von Hildebrand about the heart as "the real self" (see his The Heart, chapter 8). It has to do with the need to investigate our feelings. For Jane Austen the most obvious responsibility we have...

The moral seriousness of Miss Bates

Jul. 25 at 1:37pm | Comments: 2 | Most recent comment: Jul. 25 at 9:56pm

I picked up A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz yesterday, and already learned something new. It has to do with the extremely talkative Miss Bates, from Emma. Miss Bates has always struck me as pitiable and ridiculous, a character thrown into the novel largely for comic effect. But Deresiewicz has a different angle. He argues that Miss Bates lives "the novel's highest lesson of all": that it is the little things of everyday—the sorts of things talked...

Kierkegaard turns 200

May. 8 at 8:52pm | Comments: 0

I was just reminded by an advertisement (a bookseller), that Søren Kierkegaard turned 200 last Sunday. That is something I don't want to let pass unnoticed. But I have only a few minutes at my disposal. So I will just leave you with soem passages from one of Kierkegaard's early journals. In these he expresses his longing, indeed, his need, "to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing...

On the Pseudo-Obvious

Mar. 11 at 5:21pm | Comments: 2 | Most recent comment: Mar. 12 at 11:15am

Today Alice von Hildebrand, widow of Dietrich von Hildebrand and philosopher in her own right, turns 90 years old.  In honor of the occasion, we asked her permission to republish an article of hers that we first came across about 25 years ago.  It's influenced our thinking ever since.   ON THE PSEUDO-OBVIOUS — by Alice von Hildebrand Introducing pseudo-obviousness It is no rare occurrence in the history of philosophy that a thesis which is neither proven nor evident has...

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Re: Personalism and the Judeo-Christian tradition

Oct. 13 at 10:37am | see this comment in context

I agree, Katie and Peter, that this is a good question that deserves a more thorough answer. Perhaps we can find some good readings on the topic.

For now, I would just like to emphasize the element of "encounter" that is present in Judaism and Christianity.  The "I-Thou" relation here is shown to be not merely temporal and relative, something which will eventually be absorbed by a more ultimate reality. The face to face encounter between persons is part of the deepest and most ultimate reality.

Also, it seems clear that the infinite worth we discover in finite persons, must in some way flow from an infinite God. It is not just a matter of being created by God, like plants and rocks, but of being called into being by God. This call is ongoing. We are continually addressed by, held accountable by, loved by, and esteemed by God.

That last word, esteem, does not apply, as far as I can tell, to the Islamic conception of God's relationship to human beings. That explains why it is not included with Judaim and Christianity as a religious soil in which genuine personalism can develop and thrive.

Re: About shaking the dust from our sandals

Sep. 25 at 4:03pm | see this comment in context

Katie, you remind me of something Jim Fougerousse used to say to us: "Nothing clears the mind like having no options." I think of this for 2 reasons:

  1. Because it seems that we are now in the opposite situation: we have many more options than people used to have, and are therefore much more confused or perplexed about what to choose and how to behave.
  2. Because you bring greater clarity to the issue by eliminating one tempting option, namely to try to restore the old ways.

I don't think I saw the 2nd point clearly before. After all, as C.S. Lewis argues in Mere Christianity, sometimes it makes a lot of sense to "turn back the clock". If one is on the wrong road, turning around is usually the most sensible thing to do. Your description of the current state of affairs, however, and the examples you give, show that there is no turning back in this case. Restoring the old ways is neither possible nor desirable. Whatever solutions we come up with, they have to accommodate the new goods and insights that led to the problem.

Looking forward to part 2, and the ongoing discussion.

Re: The unity of objectivity and subjectivity in emotion

Sep. 20 at 4:20pm | see this comment in context

Thanks Carole. I agree with you about John Paul II. He is very aware, it seems to me, of a specifically modern type of resistance to the very idea of God, which argues that a flourishing personal existence is impossible under the constant presence of an all-seeing and all-caring Being. God, in this frame of mind, is experienced as the biggest and most insufferable "Big Brother" imaginable.

It is important to show that this image of God, and of our relationship with him, is not true. God is all-powerful and all-seeing. But he does not have a "heavy hand".

Re: The unity of objectivity and subjectivity in emotion

Sep. 20 at 4:03pm | see this comment in context

Thanks Katie. What you say makes me want to add that while, as I say in my post, von Hildebrand does not develop the personal persective side of the emotions very much, he does have a lot to say about the heart being in some sense the real self of the person. He corroborates philosophically what Alice Miller claims: that to suppress or stifle the emotions, is to do real damage to a person.


Kate Whittaker Cousino, Sep. 20 at 10:04am

…our emotions should actually be increasingly trustworthy guides as we come into right relationship with truth and with others. 

Exactly so, Kate. Emotions, if rightly developed, are often quicker and more sensitive than reason. The emotion of sexual shame is a good example. Wojtyla, as I'm sure you know, thinks "there is a need to to develop sexual shame by education." "In shame," he writes, "resides the genuine moral strength of the person" and "only a true and genuine shame insists upon a true and fully valid love."

Re: The Trouble with Hagiography

Sep. 20 at 1:57pm | see this comment in context

Amen!  And well said.  I couldn't agree more Devra.

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